Quality indicators of oropharyngeal cancer care in the elderly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To examine associations between quality of care, survival, and costs in elderly patients treated for oropharyngeal squamous cell cancer (OPSCC). Study Design: Retrospective analysis of Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results-Medicare data. Methods: We evaluated 666 patients diagnosed with OPSCC from 2004 to 2007 using multivariate regression and survival analysis. Using quality indicators derived from guidelines for recommended care, summary measures of quality were calculated for diagnosis, initial treatment, surveillance, treatment for recurrence, end-of-life care, performance, and an overall summary measure of quality. Results: Higher-quality care was associated with significant differences in survival for initial treatment (hazard ratio [HR] = 0.55 [0.41 to 0.73]), surveillance (HR = 0.32 [0.22 to 0.48]), treatment of recurrence (HR = 2.37 [1.56 to 3.60]), performance measures (HR = 0.50 [0.36 to 0.69]), and the overall summary measure of quality (HR = 0.53 [0.39 to 0.71]). Higher-quality salvage surgery was associated with improved survival (HR = 0.16 [0.04 to 0.54]), whereas higher-quality chemotherapy given for recurrence was associated with worse survival (HR = 5.70 [1.92 to 16.94]). Overall, higher-quality care was not associated with differences in costs. Higher-quality care was associated with significantly lower mean incremental costs for treatment of recurrence and end-of-life care, and higher costs for diagnosis and surveillance. Conclusion: Higher-quality OPSCC care in elderly patients was associated with improved survival; however, higher-quality care was not associated with reduced costs, and higher-quality care for treatment of recurrence was associated with poorer survival, primarily due to poorer survival in patients treated with palliative chemotherapy. These data demonstrate a complex relationship between quality and costs in elderly OPSCC patients, which can be used to frame discussions of value and guide disease-specific quality-measure development. Level of Evidence: 2c. Laryngoscope, 128:2312–2319, 2018.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2312-2319
Number of pages8
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Oropharyngeal neoplasms
  • SEER-Medicare
  • chemotherapy
  • costs
  • elderly
  • quality
  • radiation
  • squamous cell cancer
  • surgery
  • survival
  • tonsil neoplasms
  • treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Quality indicators of oropharyngeal cancer care in the elderly'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this